MOVES-Goldman Sachs alternatives executive Koester to retire in April

By Saeed Azhar and Lananh Nguyen

NEW YORK, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Mike Koester, a senior executive in Goldman Sachs Group Inc's asset-management arm, told Reuters he will leave the firm after 25 years to become an entrepreneur in private markets.

Koester, 50, a partner and co-president of Goldman's alternative investments business, will retire at the end of April, according to a memo sent on Monday by Marc Nachmann, the bank's global head of asset and wealth management, and Julian Salisbury, the division's chief investment officer.

The bank declined to comment on whether Koester would be replaced. Koester also declined to give details about his new venture, but said it would not compete with Goldman.

"In the spirit of the Super Bowl, for me, playing in the private markets was exactly the game where I wanted to play," Koester said. "I got to play for my favorite team."

The bank's newly-combined asset and wealth unit posted a 39% decline in net revenue to $13.4 billion last year. In 2021, revenue for the standalone asset management business climbed 87% to $14.9 billion.

Goldman aims to significantly reduce $59 billion of alternative investments on its balance sheet that weighed on earnings, Salisbury told Reuters last month. More broadly, it supervised an average of $260 billion in alternative assets in the fourth quarter.

Koester joined Goldman Sachs in 1996. After leaving to earn a Master of Business Administration at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, he rejoined the firm in 1999.

Nachmann, who has worked with Koester since they were junior bankers, said "we are sad to see Mike leave," but also "excited for him." Koester helped to create new products and led the alternatives business through periods of growth and transition.

Still, "we have a very deep bench of investing talent" and bankers focused on raising capital, Salisbury said.

In October, Goldman reorganized its businesses into three major units. Nachmann, who was then the global co-head of trading, was appointed to lead asset and wealth management. (Reporting by Saeed Azhar and Lananh Nguyen; Editing by Rashmi Aich)